‘Overkill’ claim as police jump man outside his home

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‘Hands up’: Philippe De Kraan at the scene of the police hunt in Alameda Av, Mornington. Picture: Yanni

A MORNINGTON man got the fright of his life when bailed up by police, with guns drawn, outside his house, 1.30am, Tuesday 27 June.

Philippe DeKraan, of Alameda Av, said the police helicopter hovering overhead and noises in his street woke him up, so he dressed and went outside.

There was plenty of action in the street, he said, with police on foot roaming from house to house.

“Before I could blink they rushed towards me,” Mr DeKraan said.

“Three police cars turned their headlights on me and police jumped out of their cars with hands on their pistols, shouting at me several times to put my hands on my head and to turn around.

“While they were shouting at me I was saying to them, ‘I live here’, but that wasn’t important at all.

“It was so much overkill. I was just seeing what was going on.

“If I happened to put my hands the wrong way they might have thought I was reaching for something.

“Because of the feeling of overkill and tension, I feared that one of them could have shot me.”

Mornington Sergeant Chris Bird said police were searching properties in the street for a man allegedly armed with a firearm who had been involved in a domestic violence incident.

They had earlier chased the man’s car but abandoned the pursuit when other road users became endangered. The man, who had allegedly threatened to ram his car through the doors of the Mornington police station, eventually gave himself up after a long phone call with police.

Realising Mr De Kraan, an artist who was wearing facial bandages because of a medical condition, did not pose a threat, shouted at him to “go inside and stay there”.

The command shocked him: “Is this normal procedure?” he said. “They offered no explanation for their behaviour.

“I nearly said to them, because it was so ridiculous, ‘Do you know who I am’. Apparently, at that crazy moment, I was a nothing.”

Southern Metro Region – Division 4 Superintendent Adrian White, who is responsible for police activity in Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula, said police were searching for a “violent offender who had committed serious criminal offences”.

“Police were also of the belief that this person had access to firearms,” the superintendent said.

“That offender has now been apprehended. As the investigation is still ongoing I am unable to comment further.

“I will add that I am sorry for the stress or anxiety police actions may have caused any local resident. I acknowledge that, on occasions, police may approach unsuspecting members of the community believing them to be offenders.

“This is done in a dynamic and fast-moving scenario where police have to make immediate and split-second assessments and will, on occasion, have to act in a way that distresses some people.”

He said that if Mr DeKraan wished to discuss the matter further he should contact the Officer in Charge of Mornington Police.

Mr DeKraan, who has since called Mornington police to complain, said a police search “doesn’t mean they have to single out and intimidate the first person they see”.

“What if I had had a heart condition?” he asked.

“They say they were justified, or that they don’t have to justify their behaviour, but there should be different protocols.

“It was a dismal response. I had a tube in my nose, bandages over my face and was no threat to anyone.

“It should have been obvious that I was no criminal and was no threat to anyone but they wouldn’t listen to me.”

Mr DeKraan said he was considering making an official complaint to Victoria Police over his treatment.

First published in the Mornington News – 11 July 2017

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